Shiner

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Shiner's first full-length, released in 1995, showcases the Kansas City, MO, trio's brand of dissonant, brooding indie rock in an earlier, rawer incarnation. The emotive melodies that mark their later releases are still there, but they're buried beneath complex, math-y arrangements and thick-as-peanut-butter production. This, however, can hardly be considered a detriment; the band's immense prog rock chops guarantee the worth of the disc alone. Tim Dow's explosive drum work acts as a catalyst against singer/guitarist Allen Epley's guitars, which often build from an insistent hum into a chunky roar. Bassist Shawn Sherrill, though less of a force of nature than his future replacement Paul Malinowski, still rumbles below the mix effectively. Epley's lyrics cling to the darker reaches of his psyche, and his resonant voice has just enough of a singed edge to bring weight to lines like "Stop your crying boy/I'll make you scream/Fetch a switch for me." Highlights include the aforementioned "Fetch a Switch" and "Released," which both start out on a slow burn but then suddenly detonate, like a fuse leading to a powder keg.

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